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Prick Up Your Ears: The Biography of Joe Orton Kindle Edition
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About the Author
- ASIN : B00AW54DCO
- Publisher : Open Road Media; Reissue edition (January 22, 2013)
- Publication date : January 22, 2013
- Language : English
- File size : 2514 KB
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Not Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print length : 368 pages
- Page numbers source ISBN : 1504031474
- Lending : Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #1,022,596 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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The coolest part of Lahr’s biography is that it seamlessly transitions between literary / theatrical criticism and the anecdotal stories of Orton’s life and work. In fact, I’m not quite sure how it did it so seamlessly at times. The struggles with money, production, and acceptance are juxtaposed with the Orton’s methodology of combining real-life emotions and events from his life into his farcical, fictional characters. He wanted to be the next Oscar Wilde, and was well on his way, revising and rewriting everything hundreds of times while cutting as much as he could. One particular quote that sums up the tragedy of his life and focus of his work is that in his characters and his life, “the establishing of their reality is now a matter of psychic life or death. Each attempt to escape the terror of nonentity, which draws them deeper into it.”
It is this stalemate between the two lifelong lovers that Orton dramatized in his work, an unresolvable binary opposition that strangled their short lives. Prick Up Your Ears is a beautiful, funny biography of two tragic lives.
Orton's plays are often funny, but not deep. They depend on the breaking of social and sexual conventions. Now that those conventions have largely been broken anyhow, Orton's plays seem less shocking than they were at the time. Orton liked to be thought of as another Harold Pinter, but somewhat to his horror he found that his admirers included conventional middlebrow playwrights of the day. In fact, Orton's plays do have more in common with the works of these more conventional writer than with Pinter. Perhaps Orton's greatest comic invention were his letters to the editor of various British publications, always written under a false name and always espousing an absurdely conservative point of view. Orton, whether he admitted it or not, needed these conservatives for his plays to work.
Lahr's biography is well researched, and is likely to remain the definitive biography of Orton. Lahr himself has a fluid writing style, and the intelligence to know what to put in and what to leave out. Thus, he avoids swamping the reader with meaningless details as do many American biographers.
Top reviews from other countries
In spite of the obvious mix up the workshop was a great success. Students learnt for the first time all about cottaging in the 1950s, deaf and dumb fun on Hampstead Heath and playing the pink oboe in the gents at Charing Cross station.
This was all very educational and much appreciated by the workshop group.